We jumped to the opportunity of writing, producing and editing a new PSA for the Boston Public Health Commission, regarding HPV vaccinations in male teens. We are all about storytelling, so we were pumped and ready to get started.
The Commission has a great team working directly with us, and a group of teens developing the ideas for the script to make the story believable, realistic and more in tune with their daily life. It caught me by surprise when they shared with me in many of the classes the fact that videos or PSAs that tried to "scare them" into something made them laugh. We avoided doing so. As a 36-year old I have memories of many intense and scary PSAs, the famous "this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs, any questions?" or my personal favorite about steroids starting a newcomer named Ben Affleck, I say this sarcastically. Those PSAs don't age well.
We went for a more modern, updated story that relates to the youth of today. We carefully crafted the story about a teen basketball player that has to make the decision of getting the HPV vaccine, a decision that triggers a response from his teammate that goes along with the social stigma attached to this vaccination. It was important to me as a director to show how does the youth of today communicate, and also who do they talk to when trying to make an important decision. In this case our protagonist has access to a basketball coach that cares about him and his future.
I feel that PSAs are more relevant and important than ever, kids are on their phones all the time, roaming Youtube and Instagram, in a way it makes it easier to get their attention via video, we just need to be delivering engaging and interesting content that catches their eye. We produced the PSA both in English and Spanish.
We found great actors in the Boston area in Eric Perdomo, Miguel Velasquez and Michael Baugh. A true pleasure to work with.